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Angling for Anglicans: Empty nets?

As I caught up on the day-after coverage of the pope's welcome mat/hostile takeover (take your pick) of the Anglican Communion, what remained in my brain were the U.S.-based elements Laurie Goodstein had in the NYT story (with Rachel Donadio):

Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of that group [the new breakaway Anglican Church in North America], welcomed the popes decision. It demonstrates his conviction that the divisions in the Anglican Communion are very serious and these are not things that are going to get papered over, he said.However, both Bishop Minns and Archbishop Robert Duncan, primate of the Anglican Church in North America, said that they did not expect many conservative Anglicans to accept the offer because the theological differences were too great.I dont want to be a Roman Catholic, said Bishop Minns. There was a Reformation, you remember.In Britain, the Rev. Rod Thomas, the chairman of Reform, a traditionalist Anglican group, said, I think it will be a trickle of people, not a flood.But he said that a flood could in fact develop if the Church of England did not allow traditionalists to opt out of a recent church decision that women could be consecrated as bishops.Some said the move would probably not win over traditionalist Anglicans in Africa.Why should any conservative break away from a church where the moral conservatives represent the overwhelming mass of opinion, such as in Nigeria? said Philip Jenkins, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and an expert in the Catholic Churchs history in Africa and Asia.

The Jenkins analysis (and he would know) seems right, as do the comments from the Anglo-Catholic-Episcopal leaders quoted. Could it be that theology matters more than Benedict et al figured? (Irony of ironies.) Maybe this will remind us that ecumenism is a process, one that is not easily circumvented with even the grandest gestures. But time will tell, as they say.

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Many Anglicans may well be reluctant to be embraced by Ursus Vaticanus (the Vatican Bear). Being told one's orders are null and void and that one must be re-educated and re-ordained? Study and sign off on everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Some welcome!

Touched upon by the Times article but of the utmost relevance, is the amount of land and buildings that can be involved in such a transfer. It is all part of an empire that is treasured by so called followers of Jesus who had no home. So is it a matter of powerhouses merging or is it a union of apostles? They will all have a very tough time on judgment day as they succumbed to Constantine rather than the Spirit.

We live in a culture that loves metrics, but personally, I don't think the importance of this action (more than a gesture, really) can be measured by the number of people who make the jump in a given period of time. If even one Anglican (or member of a breakaway group) takes the Holy Father up on his offer, it will have been a smashing success. Even if nobody comes, it's still important.

C. Levada said that the apostolic constitution is being promulgated in response to requests. My understanding is that an Australian Anglican group formally asked to "cross the Tiber" while keeping their own form of liturgy.

Kathy, any links on that Australian report? Interesting development.

One Anglican convert would make the papal initiative a smashing success? But Anglicans are becoming Catholics every day with no trouble. The applicants for the new arrangement claimed to represent half a million peope. If it turns out that only a trickle of clerical blowhards "go over" then Benedict will unwittingly have called their bluff. Maybe that is why Rowan was able to smile -- he know Anglo-Catholicism like the back of his hand. They love to claim to be more Roman than Rome. and that is precisely what will keep them from submitting to papal authority.

Two questions.First, I think this is what Joseph Gannon is alluding to, but for those Anglican priests who accept this offer, in order to do so in good faith, don't they have to at least implicitly acknowledge that they aren't priests at all (until they are ordained Catholic priests)? And isn't any Anglican who accepts this offer implicitly acknowledging that he or she was was in the "wrong" religion? I some ways this is being presented as "conservative Anglicans didn't leave the Anglican Church . . . the Church left them." But even if they feel that way, becoming Catholic is converting to a significantly different religion. Second, there are many "Traditionalist" Catholics who feel the Tridentine Mass was taken away from them. Mightn't inviting Anglicans to join the Catholic Church rankle with people who feel they didn't get to keep their own unquestionably Catholic liturgy, and yet a different religion is being invited in and keeping its own liturgy?

It is against Vatican II to call Anglicanism a different religion. The Church teaches that the one true Church of Christ is present and operative in the other Christians churches or ecclesial communities.

David, I saw it yesterday but didn't make a note of where. Will try to find it later in the day when time permits.

Thanks, no rush. I will search too. That's actually my job...

The Australian outfit is called the Traditional Anglican Communion, and their Primate is John Hepworth. Here's their website:http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/tac/tac_index.aspxWikipedia has an article about them, if you'd like some background:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Anglican_Communion

1. Who is coming to dinner? How many are actually waiting at the door?Sandro Magister has his new piece up, suggesting that about "40 bishops and a hundred priests" are on the waiting list. If true, that's not a flood, but maybe more than a trickle. http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1340591?eng=yIt's unclear how many of those are part of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), the one Anglican body publicly known to have made a formal application to Rome. Membership estimates for TAC vary, but they are most commonly thought to have about 400-500,000 members, most in India (about 5,000 in the U.S.). I am not sure why it is called an "Australian outfit," save that its leading bishop, John Hepworth, happens to be based in Australia. There are rumors that other Anglicans have made application to Rome, but it's not clear who.Will they all follow through? The official statements of the TAC, Forward in Faith and the bishop of Ebbsfleet (the flying Anglican bishop) sure sounded that way. If this is bluff calling, as Fr. O'Leary suggests - we'll find out soon enough.2. Fr. O'Leary adds: "It is against Vatican II to call Anglicanism a different religion. The Church teaches that the one true Church of Christ is present and operative in the other Christians churches or ecclesial communities." That is true, of course, but inadequate. The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium 8) in a way it does not in other particular churches or ecclesial communities. Which he knows as well as anyone. But the distinction must be made.3. David Nickol asks: "Second, there are many Traditionalist Catholics who feel the Tridentine Mass was taken away from them. Mightnt inviting Anglicans to join the Catholic Church rankle with people who feel they didnt get to keep their own unquestionably Catholic liturgy, and yet a different religion is being invited in and keeping its own liturgy?" My impression over the last 24 hours is that of a very warm, even effusive, reaction to this development in traditional circles. They sense this as a positive development, one opening the door more vigorously to liturgical and theological tradition, and, more dramatically, providing canonical structure to guarantee that tradition. Or as Magister puts it: "Today more than ever, with Joseph Ratzinger as pope, the ecumenical journey seems not a pursuit of modernity, but a return to the terrain of tradition."That may not sit well with some here. But for the moment, what it does is increase the liturgical diversity, not uniformity, of the Church.3. It's ironic to hear Bill Mazzella make reference to church property as a motivation for all this. Ironic, because if there is anything that will *keep* some Anglicans from finally breaking with a communion they cannot easily stomach, it is the risk of loss of their old beautiful church buildings. Given that Rome already has more real estate than it can maintain (witness the parish closings in so much of the Northeast), it's hard to credit that this is some kind of property grab.4. Joseph Gannon demurs: "Study and sign off on everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Some welcome!" Yes, I am afraid that is correct: If you want to join the Catholic Church, you have to be Catholic. There is no getting around that.

"Kathy, any links on that Australian report? Interesting development."Hi, David, I believe they're called the Traditional Anglican Communion. I don't have time at the moment to chase down the best link, but if you Google it, you'll find lots of current stuff. Here is one response, from their primate:http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/tac/tac_index.aspx

Fr. O Leary,Does this apply to Anglicans?

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called Churches in the proper sense.

If Anglicanism is not a different religion, nevertheless, Anglicans are not Catholics, they will have to truly convert to become Catholics, their priests will have to be validly ordained, they will have to accept Humanae Vitae, they will not be able to divorce and remarry, and so on. Will Anglican bishops who convert be consecrated as Catholic bishops?

Thanks for the links, Mark. Numbers will be interesting--though not the measure of the move's worth, as Jim P noted, it's also true that this action was taken expressly because of large numbers of requests, the Vatican said. In the US context, the numbers would likely be at most a few tens of thousands. The "separationist" Anglo-Episcopalians number fewer than 100,000, and many seem committed to the Anglican Communion. Still, when the Episcopal Church is shrinking and down to 2.2 million, any leakage of hot air can send the balloon into descent.

"Will Anglican bishops who convert be consecrated as Catholic bishops?"Not if there are canonical impediments - i.e., they happen to be married. Not even the East permits married bishops. But they might be ordained as Catholic priests, maybe even named as monsignors if needed to help serve as nominal ordinaries in the new ordinariate structure. Hepworth presents a special challenge. He was once a Catholic priest, and has been married twice. I am not sure how his situation will be handled. He claims that he is willing to give up his episcopal and even clerical status for reunion - but we'll see if that is really true. Naturally, we pray that he will return to the Church no matter what.

Hello David,Truth is - we really don't know how many will come, or are inclined to come. We will soon now. Anglo-Catholics inclined to take the ferry across the Tiber have now been given everything they could ask for - to keep their own liturgy, own communities, own canonical structure, even their own ordinary. What we do know is just how badly fragmented the Anglican Communion is now. High Church, Low Church, Broad Church - and other churches undreamt of in Victoria's day. It's disintegrating with accelerating speed. Not all conservatives are "Anglo-Catholic." Many are frankly evangelical, especially in Africa. They are probably less inclined to join Rome, at least in the short term. The TAC will almost certainly come, though whether all will come remains to be seen. I think there is a good chance at least one or two of England's traditionalist "flying" bishops and some number of their priests and parishes may come as well. It's a harder call on the disaffected American Episcopal dioceses. I could see a number of parishes defecting, but I am not sure about any bishops. Bishop Duncan had reserved remarks about this yesterday. In the short term, this is more likely to be a blow to the Anglicans, so badly fragmented and disputatious and now given yet one more exit door to avail themselves of, than a quantitative boon to the Catholic Church, which stands for the time being to gain what amounts to no more and probably somewhat less than a large archdiocese worldwide.In the longer term, however - this could set the table for a number of momentous developments. I can't see how this is a bad thing. Anglicans who want to come to Rome now have an easier way to do so. Those who do not want to can choose another path. The rest of the Church is not being asked to do anything special.

"Vatican Bidding to Get Anglicans to Join Its Fold "VATICAN CITY In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse, the Vatican said Tuesday that it would make it easier for Anglicans uncomfortable with their churchs acceptance of female priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining many of their traditions." I had to laugh at this Times headline and lead this morning. "Bidding," "extraordinary bid to lure" sounds like some combination of a hostile takeover and a major seduction. I'm as suspicious of the Vatican as the next guy/gal, but this goes over the conspiracy cliff. As for property issues, dear to conspiracy theorists, I believe so far that U.S. courts have ruled against congregations taking their property with them; I believe there was a recent California case.

The author misses the real ramifications. This program for accepting Episcopalian priests has been in place for some time here in the States. What is new is that this is being opened up to British and other countries (Australia and New Zealand, for example). The battle for the Episcopal denomination is lost. The liberals "won." Of course, because of this "victory", the denomination is undergoing cataclysmic decline. In contrast, the battle for Britain is still up in the air with the Anglo-catholics playing an important role. The evangelicals in the CoE are hopelessly compromised by the "open evangelicals" which are leftist liberals in all but name. With the exiting of the Anglo-catholics, the liberals will take over the CoE (the mother church), and the CoE will see the same "successes" as established churches in Northern Europe: rapid decline into irrelevancy.

I am struck by how almost everything seems to be on the table in the offer--married clergy, different liturgy, parallel institutional leadership within a region (Anglo-Roman alongside Roman, I presume.) Historical theological differences are papered over, mutual anathemas are forgiven, martyrs on both sides, well, that was then, this is now. Indeed, this could be the occasion for a widespread married clergy in the West--and it'll be interesting to see if many Roman priests seek to jump to the Anglo-Roman rite in order to marry. Of course, I assume married bishops will lose their episcopal standing.In the end, what's the basis for this? Two things that founded the deal and are not on the table--keeping women out of (structural) leadership and condemning gay relationships. Rome will yield on almost anything in this deal except those two things. Doesn't that indicate what's most important to them?

Margaret says:I had to laugh at this Times headline and lead this morning. Bidding, extraordinary bid to lure sounds like some combination of a hostile takeover and a major seduction. Im as suspicious of the Vatican as the next guy/gal, but this goes over the conspiracy cliff.It does at that. But that is the times for you, alas. Too many euphemisms and adjectives for a lede.As for property issues, dear to conspiracy theorists, I believe so far that U.S. courts have ruled against congregations taking their property with them; I believe there was a recent California case.That depends. If the parish existed before the formation of the Episcopal Church in 1783 - in other words, many east coast parishes - they probably have a fair claim on their own property, and recent cases in Virginia support that. If afterwards - they may have to abandon their old church property. But then with so many parishes being closed in some dioceses, perhaps there are spare Catholic churches (often beautiful old urban ones of the sort Anglicans tend to like, natch) available to be had...Robroy says:The author misses the real ramifications. This program for accepting Episcopalian priests has been in place for some time here in the States.No, no, that's not really true at all. The existing Anglican usage in the U.S. is a very limited arrangement, and not just geographically. They are restricted to one Anglican liturgical book, and one which many of the applying Anglicans do not care for - they prefer the Sarum rite or the Knott Missal, for example. They would have that flexibility now. They would have their own canonical structure and ordinary now, and possibly even own seminaries. None of that is true under the current Anglican use arrangement.And while Episcopal ministers have had this option available, it's been far harder for whole parishes or dioceses to come over. Now it will be easier.I agree with your prognosis of the realignment now accelerating. Liberal Catholics have been trickling away to the TEC for some time now. Conservative Anglo-Catholics have been swimming the Tiber in growing numbers. Evangelical Anglicans have been leaving to become full-blown evangelicals. These trends are likely to increase now. People are voting with their feet.

"In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse"That is a rather extraordinary lead, in itself. A more truthful way of reporting it would be that Anglicans of any and every description, and not just traditionalists, now have a new method for entering into communion with Rome.

Hello Lisa,In the end, whats the basis for this? Two things that founded the deal and are not on the tablekeeping women out of (structural) leadership and condemning gay relationships. Rome will yield on almost anything in this deal except those two things. Doesnt that indicate whats most important to them?Why does it always have to be about sex?I know the news stories focus on this. I know this was a deal breaker for many of these Anglicans. But there is far more than this going on in the Anglican Communion. You have John Shelby Spong going around denying the divinity of Christ and the Resurrection. You have the bishop of Los Angeles renouncing any proselytization of non-Christians. You have increasingly radical readings of Scripture. In other words, you have a communion that increasingly has irreconcilable visions of what it means to be Christian. The questions of ordination of women, or gay relationships, are simply two (but only two) manifestations of that. What does this really give the Anglicans that Rome has not already recognized in its canonical structures or theology in some fashion? There are 22 sui juris Eastern Rite Churches (Maronites, Ukrainians, Melkites, Chaldeans, Syro-Malabar, etc.) in union with Rome with their own episcopates, own liturgy, married priests, even their own canon law. That's been so for centuries. So what is being conceded? The converting Anglicans still have to sign on to the Catechism, still have to accept the authority of the Church - including her head, the Pope. "In Essentials, Unity, In Non-Essentials Diversity, In All Things Charity." This doesn't seem a departure from that.

Everything clumsy and discordant about this move is due to the fact that it comes from the CDF and not from the Council for Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper was no doubt sidelined just as Archbishop Williams was. That was a big mistake, for both men are major theologians and tremendous ecumenists.

Cardinal Kasper was no doubt sidelined just as Archbishop Williams was. That was a big mistake, for both men are major theologians and tremendous ecumenists.Yes, they are indeed, and by some accounts, both were dead set opposed to allowing this move to take place at all: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100014263/lambeth-palac... other words, if it had been left up to Cardinal Kasper and Abp. Williams, nothing would have happened. Both see large scale conversions as an obstacle to ecumenical dialogue. And presumably the Pope realized that.

Okay, Peggy, I'll bite! What would your lede have been?I must say I thought the NYT story was bang on, and every single other outlet that I have seen across the world wrote the exact same thing, and relied on the accounts of both the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury, to a word. So I'm not sure where the "conspiracy" lies. I thought conspriacies were hidden! This is all out there. But as I wrote the same story I am being defensive. What IS the story here then?!

"Historical theological differences are papered over, mutual anathemas are forgiven, martyrs on both sides, well, that was then, this is now. "I would think that this view ignores the lengthy and substantial ecumenical dialogues that have been taking place for decades now.At the same time - ecumenical dialogue must continue, on all fronts. The Holy Father has opened a door, but not everyone will feel welcome.

Te Deum Laudamus! Deo gratias, deo gratias!As to whether this is a trickle or a flood, I recall that the Good Shepherd leaves his 99 sheep and goes out to look for the lost one.More historically speaking, the last major reunion that might serve as a point of comparison here was the reception into full communion with Rome of a handful of Syro-Malankar bishops and clergy in southern India in 1930. Today, that church is now a major archiepiscopal church (i.e., a patriarchate in all but name and overseas jurisdiction) and numbers perhaps as many as 500,000 faithful. So from tiny seeds . . . .

An odd twist on the buildings issue -- In Manhattan there are two (and maybe more) Catholic parishes whose church was formerly Episcopalian: Immaculate Conception and St. Thomas More. It would be some sort of poetic justice if these buildings could be even partially reclaimed for the new Anglican-Catholic structure, presumably with a name change for St. Thomas More.

It strikes me that the movement of some to Roman will depend on the options available to them, e.g. congregations into which individuals can fit.Here in our small community, at one time there was a close relationship between Romans and Anglicans. With our JPII pastor, things became quite frostier and a number of folks (largely quite conservative) came over while a few liberals defected to Anglicanism.Interestingly (as was noted here) a process for Anglican priests/bishops coming over and becoming Roman preists is in place.Jeffrey Steenson, the Anglican suffrage, chose to join Rome (he's married with 4 children) and has since been ordained. He was said to be good friends (by our Biushop Sheehan who received him), in a long arrticle in the diocesan paper, with the eminent Cardinal Law.He was subsequently ordained a Roman piriest, given a brief parochial assignment before being sent off to teach in a seminary in Texas.Meanwhile here, the acting suffragan for the area is the Anglican pastor here (who I can tell you is both a good clergyman and a priest who cares deeply for the community).These events are hardly a paradigm because each denomination is the only game in town.But it strikes me as a real generalization that BXVI has by another lurch right suceeded in dividing not only his own Church more but the Anglican one as well.This will not sit well with his defenders who share similar views, but I am dumbfounded by Jim P.'s remark that if one Anglican crosses over, the program will be a smashing success.This is ecumenism?Part of the problem in the discussion here also relates to an earlier thread on is BXVI killing "liberal Catholicism."The discussion here points up again the notion of the Cathoklic left being split - for those who think the institution must be maintained at all costs even while criticizing and questioning, probably little effect; for those on the left who are particularly engaged in not only the "investigation" of ou rnuns but also all the questions around women (like CTA, which is trying to launch a massive push for bringing women's questions to the fore) it's just another nail in...So it goes....

R.M. Lender, thanks for the clarifications on the specific rites used. But I would say that Anglo-catholics have been being bled off for the past 30 years. The last AC dioceses, which were fairly small, jumped ship. Thus the pool of AC clergy in the U.S. is not that great. It might have ramifications for the AC dioceses like Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin. But even if they all swim the Tiber, the effect won't be much (and not relevant to the Episcopal denomination). In contrast, in Great Britain, the Anglo-catholics still represent an important minority in the Church of England.

As for property issues, dear to conspiracy theorists, I believe so far that U.S. courts have ruled against congregations taking their property with them; I believe there was a recent California case.Actually, the circuit court in Virginia found in favor of 9 breakaway Episcopal parishes in 2008--admittedly, though, those facts and law are peculiar to Virginia. (The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's appeal.)But I think property issues are just a tiny concern in comparison to this wonderful news from the Holy See. "Behold, I make all things new!" as St. John the Theologian records the words of the Lord.

Hello Robroy,I can't really disagree with any of that.This would have had a bigger impact in the U.S. had it been done, say, 20 or 30 years ago. On the other hand, it's possible that some of those past converted Anglicans may have some interest in supporting or even joining these new ordinariate communities. Time will tell.

The Jenkins analysis (and he would know) seems rightJenkins is a good writer and a thoughtful (not to mention prolific) scholar. He is also a former Catholic turned Episcopalian--just for the record.

This would have had a bigger impact in the U.S. had it been done, say, 20 or 30 years ago.Yes, indeed, but there is still hope. There was a very similar situation in the mid-1970s, when a group of former Episcopalians petitioned the Holy See for some kind of structure for corporate reunion. The result, several years later, in 1980, was the Pastoral Provision, which had the two-fold effect of providing exceptions to the discipline of clerical celibacy and offering the former Anglicans units of "common identity," which was the basis for the Anglican-Use parishes. Unfortunately, the second element of the Pastoral Provision was never applied in a generous fashion. The new Personal Ordinariates will see to that.

Patrick Molloy: I used to work in Hackensack, NJ (cue the jokes, I know) and there was an odd duck of an Episcopal parish: St. Anthony's of Padua. It was an Italian Catholic parish, as you might imagine, but early in the last century they were feeling ill-treated by the archbishop of Newark (an irishman, no surprise) and so hooked up with the Episcopal Diocese. Which then, in my day, was led by Jack Spong, of all people. They stuck it out, I don't know how. I'm not sure what they'll do. They always seemed so completely Catholic, but that may have much to do with the Italianicity.History here: http://www.saintanthonyhackensack.org/history.html Nomilk, BTW, why do you think Jenkins' analysis is off or biased by his affiliation? I've always found him very balanced, and hard to detect anything of the homer in his writings.

It would be some sort of poetic justice if these buildings could be even partially reclaimed for the new Anglican-Catholic structure, presumably with a name change for St. Thomas More.Not necessarily! The one group like this I'm acquainted of -- that is, a group of Episcopalian converts under the Pastoral Provision -- took the name "The St. Thomas More Society." Probably not what I would have picked, but I guess you couldn't accuse them of being wishy-washy.

Speaking of theology having meaning, maybe a current/former Anglican/Episcopalian can tell me whether or not the 39 Articles of Faith still have any bearing on the theology of those churches. If they do, there will be a lot of "full communion" issues for folks who happen to take any/all of those articles seriously ---- if they even know that they exist.A quick reading reveals many articles of difficulty: 6, 11-14, 15, 19, 20, 25 & 28 for starters.A major dilemma will be for those former RCs who find themselves in Episcopal/Anglican parishes/dioceses that swim the Tiber. Whither goest they? Does anyone think that they would want to return to the control of that which they left for whatever reason?

David G: "Okay, Peggy, Ill bite! What would your lede have been?"My lede: In an unanticipated and extraordinary move, the Vatican modified canon law to allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while retaining many/most/some [this i can't quite get clear] of their liturgical and ecclesiastical practices. David: "I must say I thought the NYT story was bang on, and every single other outlet that I have seen across the world wrote the exact same thing, and relied on the accounts of both the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury, to a word. So Im not sure where the conspiracy lies. I thought conspriacies were hidden! This is all out there."I read some stories yesterday that were pretty neutral..though of course many reporters who don't know what they're writing about follow the Times. The conspiracy consists in the view that Rome did this to get more priests and people. Really? And then to get property? Really? How about they did for the reasons stated: they had been petitioned by a group of [Australian?] Anglicans. Why now? Don't know. That's for a good reporter to find out.

RM Lender @ 11:01 says: But for the moment, what it does is increase the liturgical diversity, not uniformity, of the Church.See Article of Faith #34: The Anglicans have held this to be a valid position all along. And so has the Catholic Church with a multiplicity of non-Roman Rites: Byzantine, Melkite, Maronite, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Dominican, Carthusian, Carmelite, Syriac, Slovak, Chaldean, Syro-Malabar, Byelorissian, Armenian, Romanian, Russian (Old Slavonic), Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Italo-Albanian , Coptic, Ethiopian, and (of course) Anglican Use already in effect.

The highlight of the day for me was Cardinal Levada's acknowledgment (huh?) of the value of cultural diversity! CULTURAL DIVERSITY! Is this a case of you can take the boy out of San Francisco, but...?

Nomilk, BTW, why do you think Jenkins analysis is off or biased by his affiliation? Ive always found him very balanced, and hard to detect anything of the homer in his writings.Or, to put it another way: have I stopped beating my wife?I didn't say or even suggest that Jenkins's analysis is off or biased. I think with regard to the African Anglicans he is probably right. But I do think this issue probably hits pretty close to home for him and so in the interests of full disclosure I mentioned his ecclesiastical status, which I believe is not widely known.

Peggy: It's a tempting lede. Excpet you spell as well as I do. I guess I don't see much difference between what you wrote and the NYT and everyone else wrote. The NYT did not mention a land grab, wisely, though perhaps other outlets did that I can't recall. That the Vatican is trying to attract dissident Anglicans--well, that seems beyond obvious to me, and statements from Vatican officials that they are creating this specifically to provide a home for those dissidents states that in no uncertain terms. Also, if this weren't a controversial issue why was Rowan Williams left in the dark? Why the secret talks between the Vatican and some Anglican bishops? Why the expressions of shock and dismay? You don't have to be Dan Brown, I think, to see this--from the Anglican pov, in particular--as a less-than-friendly gesture. I think if this had been an ecumenical process, declaring, for example, that there were now sufficient synchronicities between the two churches to allow for eucharistic sharing or priest-swapping and such, that would also be extraordinary but without the high drama of subterfuge and sheep-stealing accusations and such.

Um, Nomilk, you used the wife-beating tactic against Jenkins. Also, may I assume you are Catholic? If so, I assume that should skew our view of your comments? That and the fact that you don't identify yourself. And you don't have a track record of scholarship and high regard that Jenkins does, e.g...

I had the same reaction as Peggy to that headline and lede -- I think it's just the difference between "luring" and "accommodating." The "luring" characterization is more dramatic, obviously, but putting it that way makes judgments about the intent that seem a little extreme. I am having trouble keeping up with this, myself. (It would have been much better for me if the Vatican had waited a week or so to spring this on us...) Has anyone linked to this "Room for Debate" forum at the NYT site yet? It features our very own David Gibson and Cathy Kaveny. And this provocative thought from John Allen:

By the way, theres also nothing preventing the Anglican Communion from creating similar structures to welcome aggrieved Catholics who support all the measures these disaffected Anglicans oppose. Certainly, after today, the Vatican would have no basis to condemn such a move as an ecumenical low blow.

Of course, some would say the Episcopalian Church already is such a structure.

Yes, the horrible sin of a misplaced adjective! What vulgarians!You'd think they were writing on deadline or something...

I think if this had been an ecumenical process, declaring, for example, that there were now sufficient synchronicities between the two churches to allow for eucharistic sharing or priest-swapping and such, that would also be extraordinary but without the high drama of subterfuge and sheep-stealing accusations and such.It would be all of that, to be sure - but it would beg the question of whether there was sufficient theological agreement between Rome and Canterbury to allow that. And that agreement has not happened yet. And it is less likely now that the Anglicans have proceeded to not only ordain women but consecrate them as bishops as well. For that matter - whatever your theological posture - it is becoming harder to discern to what extent Anglicans themselves agree on many of these questions. But I think we're both edging toward the same conclusion here: Rome, or the Pope and a decisive chunk of the curia, at any rate, have decided that ARCIC is an exhausted project, and that whatever reunion might happen may only achieved by a vehicle like this one rather than a straight-up rapprochement. Time will tell if they're right or not.I don't blame Rowan Williams for being unhappy about all of this, especially the short notice. But he must realize as well as anyone that is as much the result of Anglican ruptures (some of them longstanding, given that TAC left the fold decades ago) as anything that's been done in Rome. In fact, in the end, perhaps the departure of the remaining Anglo-Catholics will make his job of achieving consensus within the Anglican Church easier.

David Gibson:Another property with a tangled story similar to the Hackensack church is that of San Salvatore Protestant Episcopal Church on Broome St in lower Manhattan. It was set up by Episcopalians to minister to Italians, was used by police as a command post when Irish draft rioters threatened, is now a Ukrainian church and soon may be part of Chinatown. It will no doubt succumb to gentrification.http://www.nychinatown.org/storefronts/broome/359broome.html

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